SIOUX CITY, Iowa — It's a hot button topic for legislators every year and law enforcement officials across the nation are cracking down on people using their cell phones behind the wheel.
3,166 people were killed in the United States in 2017 because of a distracted driver, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
That's about 9 people every day.
Many of those distractions come from cell phones and other handheld electronic devices.
Now while no state completely bans all phones for all drivers, each state has its own laws when it comes to using them behind the wheel.
In Iowa, if you are under 18 it is illegal for you to use any handheld device and while those who are over the age of 18 can use their phone, texting in all forms is banned.
"So basically it's all centered around a hand-held electronic device which would typically be like a cell phone, an iPad or something like that and the idea is that you can't write, send or view an electronic message while you're driving," said Sioux City Police Officer Andrew Dutler.
From phone calls, music, maps and yes texting, n estimated 176 million people who have access to some sort of wireless service use their phones while they drive.
Law enforcement and our elected officials aren't the only ones working to put an end to distracted driving, app developers are as well, offering incentives to those who keep their cell phone locked while their car is in motion.
OnMyWay is a free app that any smartphone user can download. This app pays you a few cents for every mile you travel without texting and driving.
Officer Dutler said an app like OnMyWay could go along way in keeping drivers off their phones, saying "I think any time you incentivize something, especially monetarily with money, I think it could go quite a long ways. Whether or not it would curtail cell phone usage in cars, I don't know, I guess we'll find out but anything that may help or is designed to help we appreciate."
An App like OnMyWay is just one example of an incentive to stay off your phone when you put your foot on the pedal. There are other apps and devices that work to a similar effect. Some insurance companies even offer discounts for safe driving. Whatever way you choose, just be sure to always drive safely.
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